The pickup war escalated Friday when General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported fourth-quarter and year-end sales and, for the first time, the Ram pickup has outsold the Chevrolet Silverado for the year — by 10.1%.
"This is really quite a shake-up and it's uncharted territory for the Ram because it's never been No. 2," just behind the best-selling Ford F-150, said Jeremy Acevedo, an analyst at Edmunds in Santa Monica, California. "It would be like the Chevy Malibu leapfrogging the Honda Accord or Toyota Camry" sedans.
"Our focus is retail sales, not rentals," said Henderson. "Silverado retail market share held up quite well during the year, despite going through a cadenced launch, being interrupted by a 40-day strike and Silverado heavy-dutys just getting going. Silverado also sold well on lean inventories, versus filling up warehouses of unsold vehicles. We think this is a wiser approach to the business. One year doesn’t make a trend — we’re in the truck business for the long haul."
In an email to the Free Press, FCA said Ram had an "outstanding 2019."
"Our pickup truck sales speak for themselves," said Head of U.S. Sales Reid Bigland. "We offered consumers more technology, more interior features and more choice with the Ram 1500, Ram 1500 Classic and our Heavy Duty portfolio. We look forward to another solid year in 2020."
Analyst Krebs said that Cox Automotive research showed consumers found the Ram’s interior, with its large screen, most appealing, she said.
As for the Ram surpassing the Silverado, GM remains undeterred. A GM spokesman said one year is not a trend especially in light of the six-week work stoppage the UAW's nationwide strike caused, which dinged sales of the Silverado heavy-duty full-size pickups and resulted in lean pickup inventory.
But the earth moved on pickup sales results when comparing the Silverado to the Ram.
For the year: Silverado sales slipped 2% to 575,600.
For the year: Ram sales rose 18% to a record 633,694.
That's right, Ram sales topped the Silverado by 10.1% for 2019.
When combining the sales of the Silverado and GM's Sierra, GM sold 807,923 full-size pickups for the year, topping the RAM's sales, said auto consultant Rebecca Lindland founder of Rebeccadrives.com in Greenwich.
"So, it's a way that GM can spin that they sold more pickup trucks," said Lindland. "But if you look at it brand by brand, Ram definitely outsold Silverado. It's a significant accomplishment for Ram because for years they weren't even close."
The Ram is helping to bring in younger buyers, said Acevedo. "So, when you think of the number of people who could stay with this brand, you're conceding cash now, but that could pay dividends down the line as customers stay with these products," he said.